by Diana Taylor, author of Martha
A dear friend, Iíll call her Kate, went through a bitter divorce. With two children to look after on her own, she sought fellowship and support in the singles group of her church. As with single Christian women, divorced or unmarried, it seems a safe way to have some fun and perhaps meet someone they can date, who is a Christian. Kateís experience was a warning to the rest of us.
Wolves in sheepís clothing can be found even in a church singles group. There are men who appear to be Christian, who use these groups to meet vulnerable women who are lonely. If she is not grounded in Godís Word and strong enough to seek the Lordís guidance in relationships, even in the church, she becomes prey.
In spite of the warnings from her friends, Kate entered into a relationship with a handsome and charismatic man from the singles group who was ushering in the church. They became a couple and eventually became intimate. Her pastor, feeling she was naÔve and seeking to warn her, asked her to promise him they would not marry until she had known him at least a year. Curious as to his reason, she began to take a closer look at the man she was now engaged to. He turned out to be a fraud, a man who lived off women. Devastated and ashamed, she vowed to be more careful, but in time became involved with another man, also in the singles group. He turned out to be abusive. Smooth as butter in his apologies after a fight, he studied the Bible with her, his outward appearance masking a more frequently occurring jealous nature and violent temper. Abuse and abject apology; the classic seesaw of an abusive relationship. She was afraid to break up with him, fearing what he would do. Finally those of us who realized what was happening rallied to help. When confronted, he backed off, but Kate would receive calls in the middle of the night and was stalked for months before he finally disappeared from her life.
Two years later, Kate met a man in the church who seemed genuine and who appeared to love the Lord. He was divorced but then since she was also divorced, it didnít seem an obstacle. He told her that when his ex-wife re-married, he would be able to lay that past relationship to rest. It didnít happen. When his ex-wife remarried, he went into deep depression and broke the engagement to Kate.
When single women are out there without the covering of a husband, they are vulnerable. Instead of seeking companionship in a new relationship, it is so important to make sure she is grounded in the Word. A reliable Christian counselor is invaluable to help work through the problems experienced in the previous marriage or relationship. Unless they are dealt with, they will only continue, and she will find herself repeating the patterns.
A speaker for a womenís retreat I attended years ago said, ďYou donít have to beat the bushes looking for a man for your life. If God has someone for you, Heíll put him under your nose. You go on serving the Lord and let Him bring the right man in the right time.Ē
It took three tries, but Kate learned her lesson. She spent more time in the Word, exchanged the singles group for a womenís Bible study; joined a hospital auxiliary as a volunteer, tutored at her childrenís elementary school and became more active in the PTA. In time, she met a widower with a young son. He was a strong Christian and cherished the same values Kate did. They both sought the Lord for the relationship and Godís will for their lives. Finally, feeling God had truly brought them together they became a combined family and have been married twelve years.
Single years are lonely years for the divorced or widowed Christian woman, but unless they are willing to trust themselves to Godís care and plan for their lives, wrong relationships will occur, usually with devastating results.
Kateís saga was a lesson to all of us. As she felt led to share her story with other womenís groups, Iím confident that she helped prevent many other single Christian women from experiencing the anguish she went through.